The new Mayfair Arts and Cultural Centre/Te Whare Toi o Kaikoura was officially opened on Thursday November 19th 2020, with the first screening in the new cinema (with seating for 95) on November 21.
The new Centre will continue to be run by local volunteers, who have devoted considerable labour to bring cinema back to this lovely town.
Much of the funding to rebuild the earthquake-damaged building came from Lottery funding but there was also significant community fund-raising--including $300,000 raised by the Kaikoura Community Opshop. All that remains of the original structure is the lovely pink and black facade (see image below) which invites you into a stunning new community resource.
We are so more fortunate in NZ, for all the talk of difficult times.
Richard Swainson, owner of the remarkable Auteur House in Hamilton, talks about his life in film, and about his establishment as one of the few remaining DVD stores in New Zealand (Note: Richard was my first PhD student at the University of Waikato, so we have a long acquaintance) https://www.stuff.co.nz/.../you-auteur-know-living-the-dream-in-one-of-the- last-dvd-stores-still-standing
In the latest of John Bluck's Smart Talk contributions to RadioNZ, he offers his thoughts and experiences about film and film-going in New Zealand--as a very personal perspective on how moviegoing in New Zealand reflects our character, history and preoccupations.
https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/smart_talk/audio/...luck-explores-a-life-long-love-of-the-movies-in-new-zealand or https://tinyurl.com/y4s5dy5o
Follow the link below to an excellent, double-page feature about the remarkable Regent 5-screen cinema in the Waikato town of Te Awamutu (from the Waikato Times, 4 September 2020). At the centre of the article is owner Allan Webb, who describes the history of the Regent and the problems it is currently facing. I add a few comments.
In conversations about this site, people often ask me the inevitable question: What is your favourite New Zealand cinema? I usually choose the Everybody's Theatre in the small South Taranaki town of Opunake. On other occasions, people report back to me about their own discovery of Everybody's, expressing their surprise at finding such a wonderful cinema in such a seemingly unlikely place.
But it has been there, in one way or another, since the 1920s. In recent years, it has had a new lease of life due to a very successful fundraising campaign, which enabled earthquake strengthening and a beautiful upgrade, together with the work of a band of dedicated local volunteers. What you will find at the Everybody's is a quite unique blend of classic cinema-going and local charm.
The next time you are through Taranaki, take the coastal route from Hawera to New Plymouth (Highway 45), stop in Opunake and discover this cinema for yourself.
A friend sent me news of the second Paekakariki Film Festival, to be held in this Kapiti seaside town from July 26 to September 13 at 5.30 Sunday nights. The venue is the local St. Peter's Hall and film programming is being steered by Andrew Armitage, formerly of Aro Video in Wellington. For more information, visit www.paekakakariki.nz/event/paekakariki-film-festival
Now that travel within New Zealand is possible, I will be heading down Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa way in the coming weeks, to update cinemas in Napier, Hastings, Masterton and so on. Time to also resurrect the Cinema of the Month feature.
With cinemas re-opening, it is time to return to the big screen. Last week, the Hamilton Film Society re-commenced its 2020 film programme with Gaylene Preston's feature MR WRONG (1985), with Gaylene in attendance. It was a great evening and there was general agreement that this ghost/thriller film still gets the laughs and screams.
With the Level 1 announcement of June 8, New Zealand cinemas have stirred back into life. I have been to three films in the past week (Master Cheng, The Trip to Greece, The Assistant) and it has taken minimal re-adjustment to return to familiar haunts such the Lido in Hamilton and Tivoli in Cambridge.
New titles are arriving on screens (more quickly than the multiplexes) and where there are insufficient films, some cinemas are drawing on the back catalogue, providing the rare experience of seeing such classics as Singing in the Rain or Funny Girl on the big screen.
Film society screenings are also starting again; on June 22 the Hamilton Film Society will screen the NZ feature Mr Wrong, with director Gaylene Preston in attendance.
Geoff Lealand was an Assoc Prof in Screen and Media Studies at the University of Waikato from 1992 to 2017. Now retired (not a word he favours), he writes social history, maintains this site, its Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as going to the cinema at least twice weekly.